making your own homemade car diffuser couldn’t be easier (or cuter)!

I was at the car wash recently, and was frankly blown away by the sheer number of car air fresheners that were for sale. There were easily 50 varieties of those “tree” fresheners but that was just the beginning. Cans. Sprays. Clip-on thingies. We never use air fresheners in our cars, mainly because even though I love all the good-smelling things, these are too fake even for me.

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But I was curious about their safety, as I was pretty sure that they were going to be in the “definitely not safe” category.

Yeah, they are definitely not safe.

Just like any other product that contains “fragrance”, the makers of air fresheners are protected from having to disclose their ingredients to the public, thanks to the Trade Secrets Act (originally designed to protect perfume makers from divulging what goes into their creations). So those cute little trees and clip-ons are not as innocent as they look. And while – thanks to that Trade Secrets Act – we can’t be 100% certain what goes into these products, we do know that most contain two of the most toxic types of chemicals – phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOC). They make the scents “scent-y” but also contribute to headaches, coughing, runny noses and worse (here’s a great read if you want to learn more).

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Now consider that these fresheners are in your car – small space + more concentrated exposure + closed windows.

What to do?

Make these easy, adorable diffusers! Here’s what you need:


Wool balls (about 1″ size works best)

Twine or string

Upholstery or carpet needle

Essential oils (suggested combinations, below)

You’ll need about 24″ of string and 7 – 8 balls for each diffuser. Thread the string and push the needle through the balls, tying a knot between the first and last to form a circle. Place a few drops of the oils on each ball and tie to your rearview mirror.

These actually smell great, and the varieties are endless!

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You can use any color wool balls you like, alternate them with unpainted wooden beads, or leave them hanging straight (with maybe a tassel on the bottom?).

These are some of our favorite oils to use:


Thieves (smells like the holidays) and Citrus Fresh (a combo of 5 citrus fruits and spearmint)

Lemon and Lime

Eucalyptus and Grapefruit

Let me know if you make one for yourself; I’d love to see a picture!

DIY Car Diffuser l

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